This text has been on my mind since the very first weeks of the lockdown. And I tried – but every time I ran short of energy, and all my words and thoughts would slip away. However, last weekend I had, together with many of my friends, an incredibly positive experience of being a part of a worldwide party, initiated by one of my biggest music heroes – and this gave me the strength to put my feelings into words. I always knew that being a music lover is a great asset in dealing with stress – but now I am confident that this is a superpower.
From the very beginning, we found ourselves surrounded by love and care of our music heroes that kept on talking to us, playing for us, and encouraging us to participate, to get involved, to keep moving. I cannot even say how many times I thought how blessed I am to be a Queen fan. Because from the very first days, when everyone felt lost and frightened, Dr. Brian May initiated a tradition of “Micro Concertos” from his living room – he would play, talk to us, and sometimes sing. He would play his unforgettable solos, his favorite songs, and sometimes just jam and improvise.
All Queen family joined Brian in their effort to support their fans, and my daily visits to the Instagram feed turned into the breaths of so-much-needed fresh air. Especially in the first weeks of the quarantine when we all felt overwhelmed and disoriented. Our heroes were giving us the feeling of unity, of normalcy in the complete chaos that surrounded us. Adam chatted with his fans almost every day, sometimes showing them around his place, sometimes singing a bit, and sometimes doing a mesmerizing makeup tutorial. Roger started publishing drum lessons, and we all watched in awe his mastership in a close-up view.
From the very first week of quarantine Tyler Warren (a wonderful and multitalented musician, playing percussions in Queen and Adam band) launched a series of acoustic concerts on IG Live, playing and singing his favorite songs, including Queen deep cuts as well as his own songs. These shows became a highlight of my week, an hour of joy that made me forget about my anxieties. After each concert, I would always add more songs to my playlist – Tyler’s set lists are diverse and very original. The most recent live stream was all about “The Game” album – and to everybody’s joy, Tyler summoned another member of Queen family, the amazing bass guitarist Neil Fairclough, showing again and again that physical separation cannot put any limits on friendship and creativity.
I can talk about these concerts, live IG shows, and wonderful collaborations for hours: the #JamWithBri initiative that drew in hundreds of people, including the accomplished musicians; the happy and warm concerts by Kerry Ellis that I already wrote about in my blog – an unending source of energy and joy; or numerous mini-performances of Queen songs all gathered under a hashtag #DontStopUsNow.
But I digress; let us go back to what I started with, a release of a new song “Get Up” written by Kings Daughters and produced and co-recorded by Brian May. Even though the track was recorded before this storm has swept over our lives, the music video was made in complete lockdown, with the active participation of the audience that sent snippets of their dance movements from all over the world, breaking the barriers and turning the confinement into the worldwide participation. For me, this is a perfect manifestation of what we are all going through – being separated in our houses but united by one rhythm, one melody, one tune. And the involvement of Dr. Brian in this process also brings in the echoes of Queen magic, with their amazing ability to make their fans a part of their music, their videos, and their history.
Last weekend we all got together in the virtual realm of IG Live, with Dr. Brian being our host, and the ladies from Kings Daughters appearing on the computer screen. Suddenly everything was possible – we chatted with them and with each other; our heroes jammed and laughed, and even though I could not see my friends’ faces I knew they were there – and the feeling of togetherness was powerful and even overwhelming. I dressed up – even though I was in my room and nobody could see me – I sang along and danced to this wonderful and uplifting song that said “get up, get up” – and felt ridiculously happy and liberated, for the first time of 7 weeks of isolation. I think it is a magnificent example of how art becomes not only a tool for survival for people in isolation but also how artists themselves completely overcome this impossibility to perform in public.
My week is structured by all kinds of music and art that we are so lucky to see now. I may have forgotten what day or date it is because it does not matter anymore. However, I remember that Monday to Wednesday I tune in to Metropolitan Opera streams; Fridays and Saturdays are divided between A.L Webber’s musicals and Bejart ballets – I know that they are available for a very short period of time and we cannot miss them. Tyler usually goes live on Fridays, and Kerry sometimes performs on Saturdays. I cannot bear to think of future and of all freedom that we lost – instead, I bake and cook, I spend time with my family, I work in the backyard – and I dream of the next amazing concert or a live stream to come this week. And I sing an anthem with my heroes, hoping for the best, holding on to what is dear.
With my deepest respects and gratitude –
Katya Neklyudova – katya.3d